A Lovely Day for Letter Writing

Yesterday I had the privilege of participating in a Letter Writing Social at Indy Reads Books located located at 911 Massachusetts Ave. It is a lovely space and if you live in Indy and have not visited this store yet, you need to check it out.

The Letter Writing Social was hosted in part by The Indy Trade School, which is  has begun its own letter writing group in Indy called The Penny Black Society (more on that name in a minute.) The other host was The Letter Writer’s Alliance, operated by Donovan Beeson and Kathy Zadrozny. Donovan and Kathy are awesome and I’ve mentioned their stationary business, 16 Sparrows, and the LWA on this blog before. I am a member of the LWA, so I was really excited when Donovan mentioned she was going to run a social here in Indy.

The point of the social is just to provide a venue where people can come and write or type letters. The Trade School and LWA provided materials for mail art, envelope templates, stationary and type writers. It was a good time. 


I typed a letter on this machine. The script comes out cursive. Excellent. 

I wrote five letters while I was at the social and I met a lot of cool people from around the city. I find writing and making mail art very therapeutic and fun. Here is a sample of my finished letters:

All to be sent out on Monday. 

As I mentioned earlier, the Penny Black Society is the letter writing group that is getting off the ground here in Indy. The name comes from the first adhesive postage stamp to be used by a public postal system. It was issued in Britain on May 1, 1840. 
Penny Black Stamp.
Indy Trade School

The Super Bowl Came to Indy and I Caught a Cold…

The Super Bowl came to my city this weekend and where was I for the majority of the time? In my house nursing my first (and hopefully my last) cold of the winter. It started on Tuesday and today I am finally beginning to feel semi normal. By semi-normal I mean that I can breath out of both nostrils.


I managed to make it downtown on Friday afternoon, so here are some pics from the circle and the Super Bowl Village:

Bud Light was a major sponsor but I refuse to pay $6 for their beer.

I live here and I’ve never eaten at St. Elmo’s.

Lots of fans…

I took this picture for my dad. Go Giants!

And here are some pics from around the city that I got off the internet:

Outside the Children’s Museum. From doingindy.com
The zip line from the washingtonpost.com
Crowds at the Super Bowl Village were estimated at 200, 0000. From indystar.com.

I am watching the game from the comfort of a friend’s house this evening but I hope everyone who is downtown has a great time. Have fun, be safe and GO Giants!

Sunday Musings

Yesterday was Greekfest at Holy Trinity Greek Church and it was awesome. I would also like to note that these pictures were taken with the camera on my Blackberry, which isn’t too bad considering it’s a phone.
I received another positive rejection from Boulevard today, so I’ll be sending to them again when their reading period starts up in October. The goal is finish up submission packets Tuesday morning and get those in the mail for round one.

We also went to the library book sale this afternoon. It was excellent although I’d like to go Saturday next time, so it isn’t so picked over. I picked up a Best American Short Stories 2006 and Spoon River Anthology. I also picked up a horror collection (in honor of Halloween coming up.) I love B horror movies and zombies and all that good stuff, so that was my “fun” purchase.

Sunday (Art Fair) Musings

These photos are not the best quality because RJ took our lovely new camera to a conference, so I took these with the old camera.

These are some of the artists I liked but couldn’t afford. Yet.

Nancy Nordloh-Original Oils and Watercolors

Martina Celerin-Dimensional Weavings (one of my favorites)

The Perfect View/Patti and Bob Stern-Architectural Artificial Into Art

Dolan Geiman
-Contemporary Art with a Southern Accent

Thursday (on the road again) Musings

We arrived back in Indy yesterday around 5:30. The drive was uneventful weather wise, which is usually the only big news this time of year. We rang in the New Year last night at a local bar with some friends and today we’re hitting the road again for the final leg of our holiday marathon. Around noon we’re heading to Murray, KY where I’ll defend my thesis tomorrow at 1:00. I’m hoping all goes well.

Updates to follow.

Sunday (I promise to be better) Musings

RJ and I went to a poetry reading at school on Saturday afternoon. The reading was based around a project that came from the building of the new Indianapolis Airport. The Indianapolis Star ran an open call for poetry for a potential project concerning the airport. Out of the 4,000 seven were selected: Joyce Brinkman, Ruthelen Burns, Joseph Heithaus, Norbert, Krapf, and Jeannie Deeter Smith. Their poems were placed on stained glass windows comissioned by the English artist Martin Donlin.

This is my favorite poem from the book that sprung from this project, Rivers, Rails, and Runways:
Elegy for an Autumn Day
After Rilke and Hass

The wind’s flute is the trees, the wind’s drum
my son’s kite flapping with a face of the sun,
the leaves are fire or fireworks, the sky

blue, swimmable, cold. You’d say
everything about this moment is good,
one daughter runs across the grass, goldenrod

blows behind her like the sun’s own sea,
the other daughter rests against stone, reads
a book, hums a fairytale into what we can taste

of sweet air, the pungent fresh decay
like the smell of old skin or the root of wild carrot,
white, gleaming, when you pluck it

from its place, pull apart the complex lace
of white flowers and hold them to your face,
but the scent is already put somewhere else

by the wind, this picture of my boy, my girls,
my wife bending to my daughter’s hair
burns away to nothing but this song, these bare

words out of my chest, my sad throat, my sadder mouth, while flocks of swallows scatter south
and disappear. Even the fingers of the trees

are gone or changed, the leaves
fallen and falling, the stones around us nothing
but stones getting smaller, wearing

away. And still
you want to stay here forever in the chilled
air singing with sounds of my daughters’

laughter, my son’s fierce hold on his kite, the water’s
tinny music from the creek, everything dying
and alive, alive and dying, everything.

Joseph Heithaus
Initially I was going to start posting poems about winter, but I think I’m just going to start posting poems for the week. I’ll begin doing this tomorrow. I’m also going to try and keep up a bit better with my blogging. Our replacement Mac arrived Friday, so I think it will be a little easier to work from home.

This is a poem of C. Dale Young’s that I read on his blog. I started following his blog for the project for MSU and I thought this poem was devastatingly beautiful:


There was the knife and the broken syringe
then the needle in my hand, the Tru-Cut
followed by the night-blue suture.

The wall behind registration listed a man
with his face open. Through the glass doors,
I saw the sky going blue to black as it had

24 hours earlier when I last stood there gazing off
into space, into the nothingness of that town.
Bat to the head. Knife to the face. They tore

down the boy in an alleyway, the broken syringe
skittering across the sidewalk. No concussion.
But the face torn open, the blood congealed

and crusted along his cheek. Stitch up the faggot
in bed 6
is all the ER doctor had said.
Queasy from the lack of sleep, I steadied

my hands as best I could after cleaning up
the dried blood. There was the needle
and the night-blue suture trailing behind it.

There was the flesh torn and the skin open.
I sat there and threw stitch after stitch
trying to put him back together again.

When the tears ran down his face,
I prayed it was a result of my work
and not the work of the men in the alley.

Even though I knew there were others to be seen,
I sat there and slowly threw each stitch.
There were always others to be seen. There was

always the bat and the knife. I said nothing,
and the tears kept welling in his eyes.
And even though I was told to be “quick and dirty,”

told to spend less than 20 minutes, I sat there
for over an hour closing the wound so that each edge
met its opposing match. I wanted him

to be beautiful again. Stitch up the faggot in bed 6.Each suture thrown reminded me I would never be safe
in that town. There would always be the bat

and the knife, always a fool willing to tear me open
to see the dirty faggot inside. And when they
came in drunk or high with their own wounds,

when they bragged about their scuffles with the knife
and that other world of men, I sat there and sutured.
I sat there like an old woman and sewed them up.

Stitch after stitch, the slender exactness of my fingers
attempted perfection. I sat there and sewed them up.

C. Dale Young
Interesting review of Yusef Komunyakka’s book.

If you’ve never looked at the Post Secret website, you should. My recent viewing yesterday gave me an idea for a new series of poems.

Monday Musings

This weekend was a roller coaster. Usually, I try to post during the weekend, but Friday afternoon I managed to dump a glass of Crystal Light lemonade onto our Macbook. It wasn’t pretty, but R’s quick thinking may have saved the machine. He turned it upside down on a dry surface and immediately took the battery out. We let it “dry” for 24 hours and Saturday we managed get it turned on. Remarkably, the computer works just fine. There is a small amount of screen damage to the lower right hand corner, but otherwise all programs work well. The biggest problem is that the computer will not recognize the battery. We’re exploring the options and yes, I am kicking myself repeatedly.

Greekfest was fun but somewhat marred by the computer fiasco. The lines were long and the food was overpriced, but it was delicious. My favorite item of the evening came when I was introduced to the “baklava” sundae. Yes, it is as sweet as it sounds. It’s composed of a scoop of vanilla ice cream, a scoop of gooey baklava, and a drizle of chocolate syrup. Yum!

Oktoberfest (Saturday) found me in a better frame of mind and I enjoyed myself even though there wasn’t much German about the event. RJ and I rode on the Ferris Wheel and the Paratrooper (R’s favorite) and we drank some beer. We had a good time with friends,- and I’m glad we went.

I took Kweli on a long walk yesterday. We walked along the canal, through Rocky Ripple, all the way to Butler’s campus and back. I like walking Kwe, even though he get’s over stimulated and has slight ADD. I like being outdoors and it was a beautiful day. That being said, I wish other dog owners/walkers would be a little more aware when they walked their pets. This woman was walking her dog (looked like a beagle mix) and she crept up right behind me without even letting me know she was there. So she startled Kweli and she startled me, which caused me to stop, and let her go ahead. The same goes for bikers and joggers. Say “passing on your left or right” don’t creep up behind a walker and then almost run them off the road. Maybe someday when I have more time I’ll right a trail etiquette book.

Your fall poem for today:


I didn't know I was grateful
for such late-autumn
bent-up cornfields

yellow in the after-harvest
sun before the
cold plow turns it all over

into never.
I didn't know
I would enter this music

that translates the world
back into dirt fields
that have always called to me

as if I were a thing
come from the dirt,
like a tuber,

or like a needful boy. End
Lonely days, I believe. End the exiled
and unraveling strangeness.

~ Bruce Weigl

Two interesting articles about Robert Giroux. A tribute and then an article about missed oportunities.

I love this idea. We sometimes forget about muses.

Friday Musings

I’m back at school today. As a new faculty member, I have orientations every Friday. So far they’ve been very helpful. Today’s session was over wikis and blogs and how we can incorporate them into Blackboard. We also received a tutorial over smart boards, which was neat and informative. Unlike some of my colleagues, I’m more than willing to embrace technology in the classroom. I think where educators make the mistake is when they don’t have a Plan B. Technology, just like many other things, is not full proof. If you go into a classroom planning to use a computer, projector, or smart board, you should also go into that same classroom prepared that those machines may not work. Part of teaching is being prepared. If you’re prepared, you’ll be fine no matter what.

This theme of this weekend is “eat, drink, and be merry.” R and I and friends are attending the Greek Festival and Oktoberfest. Good times!

I just read the winning story for the Emerging Writers Network fiction contest. Here is the link to the story, The Secret Life of Engineers, by David Borofka. I was struck by the title and the story is very good. Here is what the judge, Alyson Hagy, said about it:

The height of summer in the Rocky Mountains is the worst time of the year to judge a literary contest. Because it’s perfect outside. The sky, the alpine meadows, the back country streams are all signing their Siren songs. So it takes a very good set of short stories to keep me indoors…and interested.
“The Secret Life of Engineers” is a story that knows its voice and heart. It never resorts to literary pyrotechnics. It doesn’t try to do too much, and it left me with a rich, complicated sense of its characters despite the fact that it’s not very long. It’s a story that believes in itself, and thus, it made a believer out of me. The author of this story has a wonderful ear (there’s not a syllable out of place, in my opinion). He or she also has a keen sense of comic timing. In fact, most of the best stories I read for the contest were funny. Thank goodness for that. I loved the brio and balls of many, many of these entries. These writers are not shy, and that’s a good thing. They have something to say and good tales to tell…and they kept me glued to my chair despite the lure of the great Wyoming outdoors.